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I know what you’re thinking: clickbait. I promise: I really did lose 1.5 inches off my waist by lying down. The only thing I didn’t mention is that I was zipped into trousers that looked a little like a ’70s spacesuit, and that my body was being rhythmically compressed to kick-start my lymphatic system. As fate would have it, on the day I headed to Britain's Courthouse Clinic to try the Body Ballancer treatment—known in the U.S. as the Ballancer Pro—it was seriously hot and I was bloated.
Now, before you eye the term “inflatable trousers” with skepticism, know that they have a medical pedigree. They were invented to treat patients suffering from lymphoedema, a chronic condition that causes swelling.
Read on for more about my Body Ballancer experience.
What Is the Body Ballancer/Ballancer Pro?
The Body Ballancer system—which is known by various names according to its branding throughout the world (Body Ballancer in the U.K., Ballancer Pro in the U.S., etc.)—is comprised of 24 interlinked chambers, which inflate and deflate in a gentle wave-like motion to mimic a manual lymphatic drainage massage. As founder Jules Willcocks explains, the Body Ballancer is "a versatile, relaxing yet revitalizing compression therapy system" that utilizes massage to expel toxins and excess fluid from the body: "Using the proven principles of manual lymphatic drainage massage, it offers an effective answer to a number of aesthetic and health concerns, including cellulite, water retention, poor skin tone, and sluggish digestion that can lead to bloating and discomfort."
I met with Willcocks, one of the women responsible for getting clinics and spas in the U.K. set up with the Body Ballancer gadget. She works alongside Naomi Northern-Ellis, who was the first person to import the gadget here back in 2011. Willcocks tells me she experienced the treatment at a detox retreat and was so impressed by the results that she bought a machine to have in her home.
Willcocks likes to zip herself into her Body Ballancer after a long flight or long day. Her husband, on the other hand, uses it after exercising, as it can help flush out the lactic acid that can contribute to those next-day aches and pains.
Benefits of the Body Ballancer/Ballancer Pro
• Improves cellulite and skin tone
• Slims and contours the body
• Improves the lymphatic system
By boosting the supply of fresh, oxygenated blood to the tissues, use of the Ballancer results in a significant improvement in cellulite and skin quality, leaving it firm and toned. It also targets the lymphatic system, removing toxins and pathogens from the body quickly and effectively.
“The fact that the lymphatic system is so tightly interconnected with both the digestive and immune systems means quite simply that any improvements in our lymphatic health will have a positive impact on our gut health and immune function whilst the elimination of excess fluid and the toxins and waste it contains will lead to healthier complexions, improved skin quality, and a more toned appearance, both on the face and body," explains Willcocks.
How Does It Work?
The Body Ballancer and Ballancer Pro utilize inflating compression garments, which create a gentle to firm massage that targets every inch of the treated area. The massage works to increase circulation and decongest any problem areas (hips, thighs, etc.), accelerating the removal of toxins through the lymphatic system. There are two specialized garments involved: the Ballancer pants treat the lower body while the Ballancer jacket treats the upper abdomen, arms, and back.
Lucy Carty, founder and clinical director, of Eden Skin and Laser Clinic, uses the Body Ballancer at her business, as she says it can improve the efficacy of other treatments. “Clients report a noticeable change immediately after getting out of the Ballancer no matter what their concern is going in," says Carty, who adds that a range of body types can benefit from the Ballancer. "My own sister, a triathlete, is always begging for a go in it, as she finds it immensely beneficial to speed up recovery. I love using the suit, too—I suffer from fluid retention myself, and my shoes are always looser when I put them on after a session.”
What To Expect from the Body Ballancer/Ballancer Pro
The device stimulates the lymphatic system to drain away toxins (which can boost the immune system) and whisk away excess fluid. I’ve had two treatments so far and have noticed that despite going to the restroom beforehand, you’ll also need to go once the 45 minutes are up (I was quite literally clambering out of the trousers last time). But that’s not the only sign it had worked: The snug skirt I had on before going in for the first treatment was a good 1.5 inches looser when I zipped it back on.
Gone was that sluggish, bloated, yucky feeling I had beforehand. My legs and feet felt lighter, too. The Body Ballancer and Ballancer Pro claim to improve the appearance of cellulite, thanks to increased blood and oxygen flow. I didn’t notice this, but I imagine you would need to commit to a series of treatments to reap those rewards. I should also mention that if you’re heading for a treatment, it would be wise to bring a pair of leggings (unless you want to wear the rather fetching pair of paper leggings the clinic provides).
As the Body Ballancer utilizes lymphatic massage, it isn't meant for those with certain underlying conditions, such as vascular disease, deep vein thrombosis, or infected skin. Otherwise, those who leave a Body Ballancer treatment will likely do so feeling energized and healthy.
The Final Takeaway
I would recommend this treatment to anyone who’s prone to water retention or bloating—especially if you have an important event to attend the next day. If you’re a frequent long-haul traveler, booking one of these treatments the day of or after a flight could help relieve some of that post-flight water retention. Still need convincing? I shared my experience on my Instagram story, and quite a few journalist pals have booked in since and are going back for more. Overall, the results are pretty amazing (you can thank me later).